Lose yourself in music, not judgment


Evan Walton

Music is an escape, not another reason for criticism and judgment.

Music is more. More than notes on a page, more than a cool beat coming out of car speakers, more than the stress of life – it is a passion, an outlet and an escape. For anyone to criticize someone’s taste in music should be a crime. To me, my music helps define who I am. So why can I not listen to whatever I want? Why can not I be whoever I want to be?

I listen to all music – from classical, to pop, to rock, to indie, to rap, yet no matter what music I choose to lose myself in, I am criticized and told what everyone else thinks. I am a “nerd” because I like listening to musicians play instruments other than guitar and drum set. I am “basic” because I like listening to the top 40 hits every once in awhile. I am into “old people music” because I enjoy listening to bands like Guns ‘N Roses. I am a “wannabe hipster who should just stop trying” because I like to find music that is not painfully overplayed. And finally, “I am a white girl, so there is no way I should be listening to rap.” Never mind the fact I can rap right along with the artists I listen to.

At first, when hearing this criticism from my peers, I was shocked. Why is it such a big deal I like different types of music? Now, I know to expect it. How is music any different from life in general? Everyone is judged for being themselves, no matter what they do.

If one plays a sport, he is a jock and, consequently, a jerk. If one enjoys playing an instrument in band, he is a geek, and consequently, an outcast. If one makes high grades on his report cards, he is a nerd, and consequently, a weirdo everyone avoids. If one listens to any music I do not enjoy, he must be stupid or flawed somehow.

I personally, know more than one member of the band who also plays sports and gets high grades. I know a couple of athletes who are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. I know students who are the heart of every party, even though their grades never drop below a 96. We are not defined by just one thing. We can be whoever we want to be. I look at music the same way.

Just as we are not defined by our skin color, nor should we be defined by the clothes we wear, the extracurricular activities we enjoy, or the music we escape to.

— Aryauna Thompson

I am in band, but I am not limited to listening to only instrumental music. I was born in this century, but I am not confined to only the music of this era. I am allowed to like music not everyone else likes. And I am more than able to listen to talented artists rap and sing along with them if that is what I want to do.

The world we live in is one of judgment and of the fear of being judged. Not many have the courage to stand up and be themselves. This is not a problem we can fix by snapping our fingers, but it is one we can always strive to overcome. Just as we are not defined by our skin color, we should not be defined by the clothes we wear, the extracurricular activities we enjoy, or the music we escape to. It takes billions of fish to make up the ocean. In the same way, it takes billions of traits, tastes, and quirks to make up a person.

I am not defined by one thing. I am the only me in the world. No one can tell me otherwise. Just how I am not defined by one aspect of my life, neither are you. You are the only you in the world and no one should be able to tell you otherwise. I believe in a world where we can participate in whatever we want and listen to whatever makes us happy. A world where we can all forget the judgment and be whoever we are meant to be. Do you?